Cambridge, Massachusetts, is best known as a vibrant and eclectic college town. This city is home to renowned institutions like Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as smaller schools like Cambridge College and Lesley University. The convergence of academic institutions makes this a prime destination to experience culture. The city’s museums celebrate art, history, and science in a grand way, serving up sumptuous opportunities to learn and explore.

Organized into a traditional grid of European-style squares, Cambridge’s neighborhoods are well-defined. If you spend any length of time in the city, expect to be directed to Harvard Square, the most popular of these, at least once for its boutiques, cafes, and entertainment. If you’re planning a day in Cambridge, you’ll find it full to the brim with intrigue and excitement. Try this itinerary for a well-rounded sampling of the city.

Morning: Enjoy a Café Breakfast

Power up for a busy day in Cambridge with a filling breakfast from one of the city’s many quaint cafes. In a city built on late-night study sessions and early-morning classes, it’s easy to find a fantastic on-the-go breakfast. Café Luna serves hearty breakfast sandwiches for just $6 with egg, cheese, and your choice of breakfast meat. At Crema Café, you’re best going with The Sammy. This savory pick features eggs, bacon, cheddar, caramelized onions, and mustard aioli on a house-made English muffin, for a flavorful punch that’s sure to wake you up right.

Are you in the mood for something a little sweeter to start your day? Henrietta’s Table serves a decadent malted waffle with homemade apple butter on the side. For less than $4, you can grab a sticky bun, Danish, or fresh muffin from the bakery. Wherever you go, you’re sure to find flavorful favorites that will help you fuel up for the activities ahead.

Charles River john w weeks bridge
Charles River in Cambridge.

Mid-Morning: Take a River Cruise

Get a stunning overview of all Cambridge has to offer and start your day with a Charles River Sightseeing Tour. These picturesque jaunts last for 70 minutes and depart regularly throughout the day. As you glide along the shimmering waters of the Charles River, you’ll catch views of Beacon Hill, the Back Bay, Esplanade Park, Harvard, M.I.T, and Boston University.

If you’re fascinated by famous architecture, the Charles Riverboat Co. offers architectural boat tours. These 90-minute tours provide a view of buildings like the 52-floor Prudential Tower, 60-story Hancock Tower, and Marriott’s Custom House. You’ll enjoy unforgettable waterfront views of both Cambridge and Boston as you glide down the river. 10 a.m. cruises take place on Saturday and Sunday.

You can secure tickets up to two weeks in advance for these river cruises. Though you might get lucky at the dock, this is an extremely popular pick, so you’re testing your luck if you show up unprepared. Catch your cruise at Lechmere Canal Park.

Noon: Dine on Local Specialties

Order your lunch with a side of local pride at one of Cambridge’s more refined eateries. This city supports a fanatic foodie culture, so it’s always easy to eat well. Any establishment that publishes its own carefully written philosophy is a solid pick for satisfying fare.

Commonwealth fills its menu with local produce and New England cheese, so you can get a taste of ingredients that are sourced close to home. The lunch sandwiches come with a side salad and duck-fat fries. Try the mole braised chicken that makes the most of the very best part of the bird, featuring crispy chicken skins, poblano relish, and chipotle-lime sour cream on a pretzel bun.

Another lunch destination that emphasizes its local food philosophy is Harvest. This restaurant works closely with local farms to source everything from fruits to clams. Get your fill of fresh seafood with the raw bar, featuring locally harvested oysters with a champagne mignonette.

Harvard Museum
The Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge.

Afternoon: Hit the Cambridge Museums

Cambridge offers so many museums, one day isn’t nearly enough to hit them all. Choose one or two that pique your interest most and plan a leisurely exploration after lunch. Explore human culture in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, where you’ll find everything from Nasca pottery recovered from Peru to towering totem poles from indigenous North American cultures. The Arts of War exhibit is particularly stunning, featuring more than 150 weapons from cultures around the world.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History offers another opportunity to travel the globe. The museum features more than 10,000 species of birds from around the globe, prehistoric mammals from 65 million years ago, and more. Learn about creatures that are native to Africa and Asia, or look closer to home in the New England Forests exhibit.

If you’re in the mood to indulge your artistic side, hit the Harvard Art Museums. This trio of attractions includes paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from East Asia, South Asia, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.

The MIT Museum is a smart pick for visitors who want a little of everything. Take a high-tech tour of the holography collection to see more than 2,000 holograms. Browse architectural student thesis drawings from as early as 1873 in the Architecture and Design Collection, or learn more about marine technology in the Hart Nautical Gallery. Museum mavens will have no trouble finding top picks in Cambridge.

Old Burial Ground
The Old Burial Ground in Cambridge.

Late Afternoon: Pay Homage to the Past

Take a peek into the past with a visit to one of Cambridge’s notable cemeteries. The Old Burial Ground, on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Garden Street, dates back to 1635. Though it contains more than 1,200 known graves, it likely holds many more remains, as headstones weren’t widely used until the 1670s. For almost 200 years, this was the only cemetery in Cambridge, so you’ll find graves that vary dramatically in size, scope, and importance. Make a note to look for the massive John Vassal tomb, containing 25 caskets, and the beautifully detailed 1692 gravestone of William Dickson.

Mount Auburn Cemetery is another stunning location that’s worth a visit for anyone who appreciates the peaceful beauty of garden-style cemeteries. This destination serves as both a historic landmark and an active burial site. The visitors’ center in Story Chapel is a smart place to start your visit. There are several self-guided tours to choose from. Print guides are available for a small fee if you want all the details on a particular aspect of the cemetery, such as its horticulture or art.

You can also stroll Mount Auburn’s paths at your leisure, exploring as you go. The cemetery’s inner loop offers one mile of walking trails while the outer loop is two miles.

Evening: Indulge in a Multicourse Italian Feast

End your day with a decadent meal that includes multiple courses of mouthwatering Italian specialties. Giulia features a house-made lamb sausage that’s a must-try. Leave plenty of room for dessert, because the options are as indulgent as they are distinctive.

Head to Toscano in Harvard Square for a massive menu that includes gourmet pizzas, pasta, seafood, and steak. If you find yourself getting lost in the options, go for the Ravioli Antra, a handmade spinach and ricotta ravioli with ground duck sauce.

Late Night: Take in the Music Scene

Live music and delicious drinks form the perfect partnership in Cambridge. If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere, try the Cantab Lounge, where every day of the week brings a different themed experience. Visit on Mondays for one of the most distinctive options, as a singer-songwriter open mic invites fresh talent to the stage.

The Middlesex Lounge has a packed calendar that features everything from pop and hip hop to electronica.  Craft cocktails offer plenty of picks to sip, from the fruity Tiny Dancer to the whiskey-fueled 49er. End your day with laid-back lounge ambiance for a soothing way to wind down from the Cambridge excitement.

Cambridge Evening
Cambridge at Night.

Where to Stay in Cambridge

Cambridge accommodations are as varied as the attractions in this vibrant city. You can book a sumptuous room in a luxury hotel or stay in a shared dorm that pads your budget and provides plentiful socialization. From standard hotel chains to one-of-a-kind private rentals, you can find a little bit of everything in Cambridge.

Top Hotels

For personalized service and a charming ambiance, Cambridge has just what you need. The city’s boutique hotels effortlessly blend elegance and warmth, so you’ll enjoy the upscale feeling of a well-appointed hotel with the distinctive sense that this is just where you belong.

Hotel Veritas has 31 rooms and an extensive range of amenities that includes marble showers, Etro bath amenities, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The Kendall Hotel enjoys an enviable spot on the National Register of Historic Places. On-site dining is available, with three meals a day at The Black Sheep. Head to the Rooftop Retreat to cap off your day with a complimentary wine hour Monday through Thursday.

If you prefer to book a hotel room at a familiar chain hotel, you’ll find all your favorites are well-established in and around Cambridge. Make use of your loyalty points as you enjoy the recognizable features of your preferred hotel brand at locations like the Courtyard by Marriott Boston Cambridge, Hyatt Regency Cambridge, Sheraton Commander Hotel, and Hampton Inn Boston Cambridge.

Best Hostels

If you’re looking for a communal lodging experience in this college town, try one of the welcoming hostels in nearby Boston. The HI Boston Hostel offers dorm beds, a cozy common area, and complimentary continental breakfast. For a bit more privacy, try 40Berkeley Boston, where you can book an individual room for one to four guests with a shared bathroom.

At Backpackers Boston, you can choose a male dorm, female dorm, or mixed dorm, each with a minimum of eight beds. Complimentary Wi-Fi keeps you connected while you enjoy these affordable accommodations.

Coolest Private Rentals

Enjoy all the conveniences of a hotel with additional homey comforts in a private rental in Cambridge. You’ll find several private bedrooms and one- or two-bedroom apartments available at low rates that are extremely competitive with nearby hotels. If you prefer to have access to amenities like a full kitchen, living room, and other conveniences, a private rental may be the perfect pick for your visit.

You’ll find diverse clusters of convenient private rentals in high-traffic areas near attractions like the Harvard Art Museums and MIT campus. You can get a real feel for what it might be like to call Cambridge home when you reserve a room in a private home rental.

Whether you’re visiting the city to get a feel for college life before you start your freshman year or you’re in town to take in the museums and history, the right home base can make your agenda easier and more enjoyable. Take your time finding the best Cambridge accommodations for your visit.

Boston Logan International
Boston Logan International Airport in Cambridge.

Boston Logan International Airport Guide

The largest transportation center in New England, Boston Logan International Airport is the closest major airport for those flying to Cambridge. Covering 1,700 acres, the airport supports 12,000 employees and connects to more than 100 destinations, both domestic and international. If you’re looking for a convenient way to reach Cambridge by air, this airport is an essential connection point. From here, you can easily reach your final destination.

Terminals

Boston Logan International Airport serves more than 40 airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, Emirates, JetBlue, Air Canada, Japan Airlines, Southwest, Spirit, United, Virgin America, WestJet, and more. These are divided among four terminals — A, B, C, and E. Terminals B and E have their own parking facilities, while a central parking garage services the rest of the airport. Complimentary airport shuttles offer fast and convenient transportation between the terminals so you can conveniently reach flight connections, baggage claims, rental cars, and other necessities.

Shopping and Dining

Dozens of airport shops offer up everything you might need for a comfortable flight or satisfying stay. There are duty- and tax-free stores in all four terminals for international travelers who want to take advantage of these deals. Other shopping opportunities throughout the airport include Best Buy Express, GoGo Gifts, and Kids Works in Terminal C; Hugo Boss and Michael Kors in Terminal E; Metalsmiths Sterling and FuelRod in Terminal B; and L’Occitane in Terminal A.

If you find your stomach growling while you’re in the airport, there’s a little taste of everything on-site. All four terminals boast Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks locations. Grab burgers, melts, and ice cream at Friendly’s, or enjoy microbrews and pub food at Harpoon Brewery. Asian cuisine is on hand at Ryo Asian Fusion and Asian Too. Durgin Park’s Yankee fare is a popular pick if you have a layover in Terminal E, while the healthy menu at the PGA Tour Grill will keep you satisfied while you kill time in Terminal B.

From fast food to fine dining, there’s a little of everything available at the Boston Logan International Airport.

Comforts and Conveniences

Shopping and dining aren’t the only ways you can pass time in the airport. Boston Logan International Airport is designed with your comfort and convenience in mind. Quiet and contemplation are easily achieved in Our Lady of the Airways Chapel on the arrivals level of Terminal C. If you want to escape the bustle of the airport and achieve a sense of peace before your flight, this retreat will serve you well.

For a more stimulating way to pass the time, explore the airport’s Public Art Program. The program maintains exhibitions throughout the airport, including permanent and rotating exhibits. The airport’s information booths offer a guide to the pieces currently on display, so you can take a self-guided tour of the terminals.

If you’re travelling with children, don’t miss the handy Kidport locations in Terminals A, B, and C. These play places offer engaging elements like slides, climbing structures, and parent seating that’s located near restrooms and concessions, so you can relax while little ones burn off energy before the flight.

Transportation

There are several convenient transportation options that will get you from Boston Logan International Airport to Cambridge. For shuttle service between the airport and Cambridge-area hotels, look into the Cambridge Airport Shuttle, Day & Night Transportation, Sunshine Transportation, and H&M Transportation.

Bus rapid transit service to Cambridge is available on the Silver Line Route SL1. This bus line has stops at Harvard University, MIT, and Cambridge, as well as downtown Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital. This route runs from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. seven days a week.

If you prefer to retain more control over your agenda, there are several rental car companies located in the airport. While Cambridge is extremely walkable, a car is ideal if you’re planning to visit other nearby cities, such as Boston. Boston Logan International Airport offers Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, Payless, National, Thrifty, E-Z Rent-A-Car, and Zipcar.

Fly in, ride out, and enjoy your time in Cambridge to the fullest with the convenient services available at Boston Logan International Airport. Book your flight, find a hotel, pick your favorite museums, and get ready to enjoy this New England delight.